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Steven Stamkos, Lightning Praised for Bounce-Back Game 3 Win Over Kuemper, Avalanche

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2022

Andrew Bershaw /Icon_Sportswire

The Tampa Bay Lightning are two-time defending champions for a reason.

While many teams would have trouble getting up for a game against an offensive juggernaut after falling behind 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final with a blowout 7-0 loss, the Lightning were more than up for the challenge. They defended home ice at Amalie Arena in Monday's Game 3 with a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche and are now down 2-1 in the series.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

LIGHTNING ANSWER BACK ⚡️ <br><br>All tied up in Tampa Bay<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/BR_OpenIce?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BR_OpenIce</a>)<a href="https://t.co/SBbuxW2JUh">pic.twitter.com/SBbuxW2JUh</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

Tampa Bay has their first lead of the series 👀 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/gKS8CyRi9S">pic.twitter.com/gKS8CyRi9S</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

Three unanswered for the defending champs 😱 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/RoNcICBGAl">pic.twitter.com/RoNcICBGAl</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

STAMMER-TIME 🤯<br><br>What a shot from in front <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/lEPnBx5ZjV">pic.twitter.com/lEPnBx5ZjV</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

Now it's the <a href="https://twitter.com/TBLightning?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TBLightning</a>'s turn to put up 5 🖐 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/9pkYhKGSte">pic.twitter.com/9pkYhKGSte</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

ALL THE GOALS 🤯🔥<br><br>Tampa is up to SIX now <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StanleyCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StanleyCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/gLivSKRsxX">pic.twitter.com/gLivSKRsxX</a>

Perhaps the most encouraging development for the Lightning was the fact that the stars led the way.

Steven Stamkos (one goal and one assist), Nikita Kucherov (two assists) and Victor Hedman (two assists) all had multi-point games, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy bounced back with 37 saves on 39 shot attempts.

The entire team earned plenty of praise on social media:

Bruce Arthur @bruce_arthur

One thing about the Lightning: they really learn how to play teams. Colorado is an unreal test of that, and this game isn't even over, but Tampa's resilience and persistence as a series goes on is really striking

Mike Ryan (Ruiz) 🙌🏽 @MichaelRyanRuiz

You’re gonna have to chop their head off, put a stake through their heart and set their body on fire too just in case if you wanna kill the Tampa Bay Lightning

Scottie Upshall @ScottieUpshall

The champs doing what champs do - This is how you come home and weather an Avalanche storm. <a href="https://twitter.com/TBLightning?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TBLightning</a>

Sean Reynolds @snseanreynolds

Stamkos in the slot goes off the crossbar and in. Lightning up 4-2. Stamkos wanted the Lightning to show what they were made of after Game 2. Leading with both words and action.

Joe Smith @JoeSmithTB

Kucherov won a board battle and then made sick pass to Stamkos, who converted as he fell to one knee from slot. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/tblightning?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#tblightning</a> stars coming to play tonight

Caley Chelios @CaleyChelios

Kucherov is on another planet. I’m still not over the pass to Stamkos. How?!?

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Lightning scored FOUR goals in the 2nd period 😳 <a href="https://t.co/bqn3ZSlv6r">pic.twitter.com/bqn3ZSlv6r</a>

Pete Blackburn @PeteBlackburn

It turns out actually shooting the puck and testing Darcy Kuemper was a good idea

Tampa Bay Lightning @TBLightning

Hello, we'd like to report a robbery. <a href="https://t.co/X6KOd49GaL">pic.twitter.com/X6KOd49GaL</a>

Jamie Hersch @JamieHersch

Crowd cheering Vasy! Vasy! every chance they get. The advantage in goaltending for Tampa has finally emerged tonight. Kuemper’s night is over and the Big Cat is roaring.

It looked as if it would be more of the same when Colorado opened the scoring five minutes in, but Valeri Nichushkin's goal was overturned upon review for offside. Although the Avalanche still scored first and got two goals from Gabriel Landeskog and two assists each from Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar, they looked far less dominant after the crowd came to life when the first goal was disallowed.

Tampa Bay answered the first goal with three straight. Nicholas Paul scored one despite an apparent injury earlier in the game, and Ondrej Palat scored another off a beautiful pass from Stamkos.

The pattern continued when the Lightning answered Colorado's second goal with three straight again with Kucherov assisting on goals from Stamkos and Pat Maroon.

It was enough to drive goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the game, but the damage was already done for the visitors. Vasilevskiy was also dialed in to prevent any legitimate comeback threats.

Attention now turns to Wednesday's Game 4 when the Lightning will look to tie the series up and continue the theme of the home team winning every time.

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